The Steam Deck, Valve’s portable handheld console, is often compared to the Nintendo Switch due to its familiar form factor. However, another similarity we shouldn’t overlook is that both consoles can connect to a dock for charging and playing on a larger screen.
Or, in the case of the Steam Deck, will be able to connect to one. When the Steam Deck launched, the companion Docking Station Valve promised was nowhere to be found. Even today, nearly two months post-launch, you still can’t purchase the accessory or even join another lengthy waitlist by pre-ordering one. Valve promises to start shipping in “late spring,” but to whet our appetite, the company has made a few subtle upgrades to the accessory.
Spotted by Review Geek, an update to the Steam Deck dock’s specs reveals some minor but notable changes. The docking station was previously set to house one USB 3.1 port and two USB 2.0 ports, but now all three inputs are USB 3.1. That’s a rather significant improvement considering USB 2.0 allows for data transfer speeds of only 480 Mbps while USB 3.1 can achieve 5Gbps.
We also now know the Ethernet jack will support Gigabit speeds, so those with speedy home internet shouldn’t experience any lag. Maximum supported speeds hadn’t been specified up until now. As Valve previously detailed, the dock also comes with a DisplayPort 1.4 port, HDMI 2.0, and a USB-C cable that connects to the Steam Deck.
Much like the Nintendo Switch’s dock, the purpose of the Steam Deck’s accessory is to make it easy for gamers to play on external displays—monitors, TVs, etc—while using connected peripherals and a wired internet connection. You don’t need to use the dock; a powered USB-C hub will work just fine so long as it’s compatible. However, the dock gives your new console a comfortable home to charge from as you play on the big screen.
In my Steam Deck review, I praised the device for bringing PC games to a portable platform but couldn’t get over the software bugs and short battery life. Still, the Steam Deck has a lot to offer, including a robust library of launch-day games, enough power to run most of those games at medium settings, and a flexible operating system with a desktop mode. Gamers obviously see the potential: earlier this week, the handheld rose to the top of Steam’s top sellers by revenue chart.